A highlight of the Phuket events, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival takes place annually during the ninth lunar month on the calendar of Chinese.
Held over a nine day period, the event celebrates the belief of the Chinese community that abstinence from meat as well as various stimulants during the period of the festival will help them attain peace of mind and good health. It is believed that those who observe the vegetarian festival and the sacred rituals that accompany it obtain good fortune.
Fire walking and body piercing
During the period of the festival a full vegan diet is strictly observed by the local residents of Chinese origin for the purposes of merit-making as well as spiritual cleansing. The most fascinating aspect of the festival for the majority of people are a set of gruesome yet exciting performances that include body piercing and cutting, walking barefoot on burning charcoal and more. The aesthetic performances are conducted by priests at various Chinese temples and shrines to rid their followers of any bad luck and strengthen their faith.
Gods and offerings
The ceremonies of the festival take place in six Chinese temples scattered throughout Phuket to which many people of the Thai and Chinese community bring their household gods and offerings of food and drink. Visitors can participate in the lighting of candles and joss sticks that are placed around various gods.